Sun | Dec 15, 2019

Sexual assault of US tourists a Caribbean problem, new investigative article reports

Published:Thursday | November 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer

Other Caribbean countries have been listed as areas that pose a threat to American tourists, according to a second investigative piece published by the Free Press, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.

Jamaica was dragged into the spotlight on Tuesday after a similar article published by the network documented that over 70 US tourists were raped at some of the country's top resorts between 2011 and 2017.

Titled 'Jamaica shares sexual assault problem with Bahamas and other tourist hot spots', yesterday's article noted that while statistics about American rape victims in other Caribbean countries are hard to come by, the US State Department has issued multiple warnings about sexual violence in several Caribbean islands.

Some of these countries include The Bahamas, Barbados, and Grenada.

The article pointed to a travel advisory, which was issued in January, where the US State Department warned travellers to "exercise increased caution in The Bahamas due to crime", noting that "sexual assault is common, even during daylight hours and in tourist areas."

More specifically, the advisory noted, "Jet ski operators are known to commit sexual assaults against tourists, including minors."

It went further to outline that in 2014, five Americans were sexually assaulted in The Bahamas, including minors assaulted by jet ski operators.

"The US Embassy has received an increase in reports of assaults, including sexual assaults at residences, hotel rooms, casinos, outside hotels, and on cruise ships. In some sexual assault incidents, the victim had reportedly been drugged," the article stated.

Barbados and Grenada also fell under the US government's radar following a 2018 report.

In the report, the State Department wrote: "Some American tourists alleged that they were the victims of 'date rape' drugs (such as rohypnol 'roofies', PCP, and scopolamine) slipped into their drinks or food in furtherance of criminal activity."

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com